Two Down: Student Senate Resignations Early In Term
by Chris Anton

Two weeks ago junior senator Adam Seidel retired from Student Senate, a reminder that at Oberlin a few things can be counted on. Students will always grumble about an unresponsive administration, there will never be enough parking, and of course student senate will get a change over at least once a semester.
Unlike other resignations that have riddled senate over the past several years, Seidel’s is not borne out of frustration with senate, a lack of commitment to students, or time constraints. He feels, however, that he can best serve students in another capacity.
“I believe that my energy can best be utilized for this campus by the Student Finance Committee as the Assistant Treasurer,” Seidel said.
He had nothing but kind parting words, and agreed to retain his seat long enough to assist in the completion elections and committee appointments. “My perception of Senate has changed 180 degrees since I was elected,” Seidel said, “I have enjoyed working with all of you and I hope that this means Senate and SFC can work more closely together. They are both very important to this campus.”
Sopomore senator Julie Dulani resigned several days later in an e-mail to senators, citing other time commitments.
These resignations coincided with the close of this year’s elections which made filling the open positions simpler. The first order of business for the newly seated senate will be the impending referendum. Typically, senate holds referendums in order to prioritize issues of campus concern through a student body vote.
This year’s referendum is slatedto begin the week following fall break and will remain open until 50 percent of the student body has voted. For a school ranked 13th most politically active in the nation by the Princeton Review’s “Best 331 College Rankings,” soliciting a 50% percent voter turnout is an often Herculean task.
Perhaps the most controversial item to be included in this year’s referendum is a proposal for unlimited access to the Lorain County Transit bus service for all students, brought forth by OPIRG. In order for students to gain unlimited access, students would be forced to pay an additional $7 fee which would be added to their term bill. Though this proposal was adopted and supported by last year’s senate, this year’s collection of senators seemed hesitant.

“In a time of uncertain exchange rates, $7 can be a lot of money, especially for the large number of international students on this campus,” senior senator Shahana Siddiqui said. The fact that students are not able to opt out of paying the fee regardless of use of the service didn’t rest well with some senators. Abbie Torransky of OPIRG explained that the $7 fee is based on the estimated $40,000 of additional revenue Lorain County Transit would need to implement additional routes and increase service. “For any student to take part, we have to generate enough money to pay for the extra routes and increased service...which we could not do if students have the option to not pay,” Torransky said.
To begin the funding a majority of those voting in the referendum must vote in favor of it. If students approve of the measure, it will be presented to the General Faculty for final consideration. The senate will finalize the list of additional referendum items at their retreat this weekend.

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